An encounter with Jesus: not a miracle, not a teaching, but a conversation that changes the woman, and reveals the person of Jesus. A chance meeting, with interest and curiosity, alertness, and gradually greater honesty, so there is growth, discovery. For us, by savoring what the woman found, we move closer to our own relationship with Jesus, that open place, that trust.
It happens like this. You open the scripture, or give yourself a quiet moment at lunch, and it becomes a situation in which Christ appears to be real, actually engaging you as you arrive, the way people do talk, asking what you need or wonder about, a drink of water. We might dodge a little, hesitate, but at a certain point Jesus gains our attention and our trust And he looks new, able to feel your depth, your own well of human hurt and thirst, never judging. How remarkable to be with someone who begins to know you, to see you as yourself.
Indeed, what does he ask? Your wonderings, your needs. We have this thirst to be known, with someone who grasps the burden you have carried today, that quite familiar load. What is it today? You might feel it lifted. You might find a thirst to live more free, more yourself.
We grow through these moments of encounter, almost unplanned. Here is our Lenten story unfolding.
—Fr. Richard Bollman, S.J., a Jesuit of the Chicago-Detroit province, is currently engaged in pastoral ministries in Cincinnati and at the Jesuit Center in Milford, OH.